Number95

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  1. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I don't know what it's like for a ruler to own a school, so I won't say anything about that. This does remind me of "School Daze", and that episode also said that Celestia couldn't exert her own authority over any school in Equestria. Still, I wouldn't want Celestia to simply exert her own authority about the decisions she makes since it won't sound so different from "because I said so." But you do make a good point about Inkwell considering the idea to leave the school since that don't make an issue out of whatever kind of authority Celestia may or may not have, so that probably would work better. I do prefer your idea of a story that show's the pony citizens' perspectives of Princess Celestia, assuming the story actually shows Celestia being a major source of help to the ponies. Celestia doesn't really get the chance to show her power, and this would be better than having other ponies show their "powers" so Celestia doesn't overshadow them. I mean, Celestia has never really overshadowed anyone in the show, but the cartoon writers keep thinking otherwise. I would rather have a wise, powerful, and competent Celestia, but that's just one viewer's preference. My thoughts about the comic are just thoughts about how another writer tried to handle her. So, yes, you are right about the comic not letting Celestia be as impressive as she should be, but I explained a bit more of my thoughts below. Making a contribution by helping fend off an invasion is definitely something she hasn't always done in the show. If anything, she only did it at the beginning of season 9, though that of course comes with its share of problems. We don't really learn anything about whatever that event in the comic was, but I'm just pointing out even something like this is more than what the cartoon would normally allow. You might say that it only shows that she isn't completely useless, and I don't disagree with this scene not actually doing that much in terms of Celestia's capabilities, but I'd rather take that over her being completely useless. I think I have said that there isn't much to Princess Luna due to her terribly vague backstory and the "modern day" episodes not actually saying that much about her as a "person", and she becomes rather plain as a result. Well, except that she and Celestia don't know each other that well. What are you referring to, exactly? As for what it says about Celestia, you said earlier that the ponies she talked to could've instead laid on their beds, arrived at the same conclusions without Celestia's input, and the comic wouldn't be any different for that. Well, I disagree, of course. If those ponies arrived to those conclusions without Celestia's input, that already meant Celestia didn't try to help Inkwell stick around as she didn't try to convince those ponies about Inkwell's helpfulness, and it also meant that Celestia wasn't needed for anything in the story. Celestia's reminders to those ponies show that she has been aware of Inkwell's activities and hasn't forgotten what Inkwell has done. As in, the comic actually shows Celestia knowing and being a friend to another pony and what Celestia would do for a friend. And before you mention Twilight, I'm just going to point out yet again that Celestia has never helped her, and she has also barely been present in Twilight's life. Oh, I guess she helped Twilight's play, but that's literally it. That episode didn't tell us anything about how Celestia felt about Twilight. And how has Celestia helped Luna, again? Remember that "Magic Sheep" didn't bother including Celestia. Essentially, Princess Celestia did more for this one-shot pony than certain major ponies in the show. I don't know about you, but that's already a pretty bad strike against the show. If you disagree, that's understandable. I'm just saying why I don't agree.
  2. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    We've discussed more than a few times about the biggest problem with Celestia in the show is that there's more interest in saying what she can't do instead of showing what she can do. And this comic does at least show what Celestia is able to do, which was convince some other ponies of Inkwell's capabilities. I actually liked how Celestia even approached the task of convincing the other ponies, which was asking them to remember what Inkwell did for them instead of simply exerting her authority and declaring what Inkwell did so those other ponies would be able to see everything for themselves. And sure, Celestia needed help to deal with some invasion, but I personally never minded if she wasn't all-powerful. At least she made an apparent contribution during that struggle. The teacher didn't want to retire yet, at least according to Celestia. But the comic didn't exactly show the teacher wanting to retire, so whatever. I agree that a story like this is too small for Celestia, but that doesn't make it bad to me. At the very least, this met my minimum requirements for a serviceable Princess Celestia story, which is showing what she can do and letting her do what she can to reach a desired goal while also revealing something about her. I know I would have minded this comic even less if the comics picked up the show's slack.
  3. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I haven't read the books, so I won't comment on those. As for Celestia's comic, I thought it was decent enough as it at least gave some focus to Celestia. She was able to think of a way to keep an apparently dotty teacher around by appealing to the students' parents. Sure, that teacher wasn't relevant to the cartoon, but I already went into the comics thinking that the comics were set in an alternate universe as I doubt the people on the show would bother reading the comics. However, the one major complaint I also have about the comic is that it isn't completely about Celestia herself. This complaint would probably be much smaller if she had ever gotten more focus anywhere else or even in another standalone comic issue, but this lack of focus on Celestia anywhere else unintentionally compounded the problem. And from the looks of the comics, Celestia and Luna don't receive much attention anyways. Overall, I don't think Celestia's micro-issue was bad, and I personally thought it was better at helping Celestia than the episode "Horse Play", but then again I guess I'm able to separate that single issue from the show.
  4. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Honestly, I don't know whether to say the comics are worth it or not. I did buy some of the comics in TPB form, but I only got the micro-series, some of the Friendship is Magic titles (up to issue 24), and some of the Friends Forever titles (also up to issue 24). I have not read any of the other MLP comics, and I don't know which issues the two images are from. Why did I buy the comics at first? They came out during a time when I still had some amount of genuine interest in the show, and I wanted to see the other kinds of weird situations the pony characters could be put in. I suppose I was even hoping that the comics would handle the bigger stories better than the show could as I was more interested in the more magical aspect of MLP, and I was also hoping that maybe the alicorn sisters could get more spotlight somewhere else. Maybe the show wouldn't bother with them, but at least the comics tie-in would be something. I also quite like the artwork I saw. One of the biggest positives of the show is its simple and stylized art direction, looking bright, colorful, and cute while still letting the villains look villainous. The comic artwork doesn't quite look like the show, and I'm not sure the show's exact art would translate that well to comic form, but the characters were still very recognizable. However, there are some comics with art that I didn't like too much. As with the show, the slice-of-life stories are better than the bigger and "epic" stories. Even though the "epic" comic stories weren't as good as I would have liked, I do like the comic stories better than the show's "epic" stories for the most part for a two reasons. One of them is the climactic showdown. The show rarely, if ever, lets the characters fight each other somehow, with the only good example being in "Shadow Play". Otherwise, the villains would show up and immediately get blasted away. The comics at the very least allow some kind of showdown to happen and not end so quickly. The other is that the princesses are actually given something to do, as in they don't get dragged into the stories and then aren't immediately thrown out the window for the sake of the Mane 6. I stopped buying the comics not just because of my declining interest in the show, but also because the comics are always gonna pull from the show. For example, I've read the premises of some of the later issues, and they have Starlight and the School of Friendship, which are things I'm not that terribly interested in, so I didn't have a reason to continue reading them even if the comics aren't in continuity with the show. If you're going to read the comics, you'll have to take them as a completely separate series from the show. They may use the same characters, but it's clear that the creative team behind the show never read the comics as the comics are never referenced in any way. I wouldn't be surprised if the comic writers didn't see the entire show, but I imagine that they might have seen at least a few episodes to get a feel for the show. In other words, the comics are essentially an alternate universe to me. The smaller slice-of-life stories are, for the most part, still enjoyable, so I would say give the micro-series and Friends Forever a look if you're interested enough. There might even be ways to read the comics online if you don't wanna pay for them. I'm not sure if I'll check out the rest of Friends Forever, though. Can you expand on this?
  5. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I'd say there's a fair chance that I'll cover it, but I also want to add that I'm not making any promises.
  6. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Are you saying that you haven't seen all of season 9 yet? If so, how much of it have you seen? Celestia was the only one who was representing the parents. Luna was scowling about her sister not following her suggestions. Since this is MLP:FiM, you know how well that would have turned out. I think the episode's premise could have worked better if the guards were in on the game as well. At the very least, that would line up with the fun and zany premise that the writers and voice actresses wanted to work with. I also wouldn't mind if the parents were involved so there could be more interaction between the family including Spike, and the whole family could also be participating in the activity they did some number of years ago. It might be interesting to see how the parents react to Spike winning the contest. As for the defenses not working at the end of the season, I'm guessing that's the case. For better or worse, the nameless guards would usually get swatted aside by the enemies to prove the latter's power. That's not so different from the good guys swatting aside the nameless evil minions. That's why the named characters who are also tasked with guarding should be allowed to do their jobs, but that's not what the show does. There's also the option of the nameless guards confronting the minions, and that might be a way to show the castle's defenses. As I've said before, I don't even think the show even pandered to the Luna fans that well. Aside from being a counselor in various pony's dreams, Luna hasn't done much else in the show. I guess that's better than being consistently stupid like Celestia, but that's such a backhanded compliment.
  7. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Sparkle’s Seven This episode may be marked as the show’s 200th episode, but the episode didn’t feel it was celebrating anything like “Slice of Life” did with the background characters (that I am admittedly indifferent to) resonating with viewers. Since the episode’s script had contributions from the main characters’ voice actresses, I’m guessing that the voice actresses wanted to do certain things with the characters they played for the show’s 200th episode whether it’s having characters involved in a zany heist, the zany plans the characters would come up with, or showing Spike’s relationship with Twilight Sparkle. Spike goes to Twilight with a scroll from Shining Armor concerning a toy crown they both previously competed over as fillies. According to Twilight, their parents used a chart to record every time either of the siblings did something “special” over the course of a week, and the one with more stars got to wear the crown presumably for a week or until the other sibling won a new week. The chart has 24 boxes for each sibling, or maybe it’s 32 boxes if the parents decided to use the additional but small row. And they probably did as it seems pretty easy for Twilight or Shining Armor to get rewarded as telling a joke and even sharing an apple were already enough for acknowledgment. How would the parents know if either of them shared anything if the sharing (or anything else that was nice) happened way out of their sight? Sure, Twilight or Shining Armor could mention what they did, but taking advantage of the parents’ trust could also be easy if one of them was feeling too competitive. Spike mentions that he wanted to be part of the competition so he could feel like part of the family. Too bad he apparently never asked for his inclusion. Shining Armor wants to meet at the Canterlot Castle for one final showdown for the toy crown, which looks more like it’s made of crumpled paper, but whatever. Oh, I mean “Celestia’s” Castle, as in the episode acts like she actually matters to the show. Twilight and Spike arrive at the castle, and they encounter SA as well as the alicorn sisters. I’ll admit that it’s nice seeing a bit more interaction between Twilight and SA as the show hardly did anything with SA despite having such an important connection to the main character. One might say that Twilight’s parents are also important in her life, but there was much more fanfare during SA’s introductory episode, and he didn’t do anything truly noteworthy in said episode. It’s also too bad Twilight’s relationship with a certain other major pony never got any real attention. Then again, considering how late this episode came in, I can’t say I ever understood the writers’ approach toward the show. Celestia wants to amp up the castle’s security since Sombra was able to take over so easily back at the beginning of the season. Luna apparently disagreed with Celestia’s approach, and they both grimace at each other. However, I don’t like this scene nearly as much as I wanted to because their relationship never got explored, and no, their two focus episodes don’t count as they were hardly sufficient. That’s too bad as their expressions toward each other are so comically nasty and thus amusing. Celestia gave the task of amping up security to the Captain of the Guard, Shining Armor. I’ve read various comments online about the guards being useless against threats, so any improvements attempted will ultimately be for nothing. While that’s a fair point, there is a much bigger problem, which is the alicorn sisters being even more useless during a crisis. So, it’s not like Luna’s suggestion of the sisters amping up security themselves would have ever worked out. Anyways, SA has (supposedly) greatly improved the castle’s security and challenges Twilight to try and break in, steal the crown, and then break out all without getting caught or setting off any kind of alarm SA has put in place. Celestia muses that this challenge will help expose the weak points in their security, and the weak points are obvious. The alicorn sisters and the guards are not the main characters, so they will always fail to repel any incoming threats no matter what they try. Having the Mane 6 or even just Starlight stand guard would already be a better form of defense. SA mentions getting shards of Chrysalis’s anti-magic throne to repel magical threats, and I wonder how Star Swirl was able to lift the shards with his own magic. Would having those shards also affect magical ponies inside the castle? What if Celestia or Luna wanted to cast a spell in case a threat somehow got past all that security? Then again, it’s not like anything they cast would ever work. Twilight relays the “new and improved” Canterlot Castle security to her friends and concocts a plan to break through all of the obstacles SA has put up by making use of her friends’ main talents. Unfortunately for Twilight, Spike coughs up a letter from SA, who has apparently already figured out Twilight’s plans and presumably countermeasures for them. SA has hardly appeared in the show, so that would also mean he hardly or hasn’t interacted with Twilight’s friends on-screen. That means he only got to know Twilight’s friends off-screen, and while I’m not against characters learning certain things off-screen, using that excuse can feel like a bit of a cheat since it also becomes too easy to rely on that excuse. I mean, would showing him interact with some of Twilight’s friends really be too much to ask for? Oh wait, I forgot what kind of show this was. Twilight initially feels discouraged about trying to break into the Canterlot Castle, but Rarity steps in and suggests that each pony come up with their own method of breaking in while also suggesting that Twilight do nothing because those are all things that SA didn’t anticipate. If we had to be realistic here, no security will ever be truly perfect, but the good kinds of security would be able to handle various kinds of threats. In other words, it’s not like Shining Armor’s security would be tailored to handle only Twilight’s plans or moves that SA think the Mane 6 would likely resort to. And now the new plan comes into action. AJ distracts the guards with a song as “Apple Chord”, who may or may not have been AJ’s alter ego at some point. Interestingly, the episode suggests that AJ made up the “Apple Chord” stuff as she was being shifty when questioned by RD. SA immediately recognizes AJ, but it looks like AJ’s plan to distract the guards still worked as she has still shifted much of their attention onto herself. The castle also has giant fans to blow away anyone who tries flying to the castle. RD gives Fluttershy, Pinkie, and Spike a diagram of the new wind patterns around the castle and tells them where they should go. Okay, two things. First, the diagram of the wind patterns came from the Wonderbolts, who apparently figured out a way to get past those blowing fans, so shouldn’t SA have contacted them or some professional flyer about improving the security in the sky? And second, what if a powerful unicorn lifts herself with her own magic like Starlight did? Would the fans be able to blow her away? Actually, it might not even come to that as the unicorn could also disable the fans. At the very least, the castle itself does have some “anti-magic” rocks. Fluttershy and Spike are dropped off into the Canterlot Castle while Pinkie offers to keep watch from above. Pinkie actually wanted to keep watch from outer space at first, but that didn’t take as her hot-air balloon didn’t take too long to pop. This also got attention from the guards AJ was distracting, and she was consequently able to use this chance to grab one of the royal guard’s medal which is needed to open the doors inside the castle. It looks like none of those guards noticed that one of them was missing his medal. Meanwhile, Rarity (in her outfit from “Rarity Investigates!”) and RD try going to a bar to ask for information about “secret passages” to Canterlot Castle. However, the bar is unexpectedly closed, but their trip wasn’t in vain as a pony who may or may not work there was able to point out a “secret passage” to the castle that happened to be close by. That’s not really a “secret passage” then, but if the guards know that, then they would know to amp up security around such a vulnerable area. Luna then conveniently appears with another guard to take over this next shift, and that new guard happens to be Fluttershy’s brother, Zephyr Breeze. He was kind of a loser and a chump in season 6, so I don’t know how he was able to get this job unless the writers are just acknowledging the fact that the guards suck so much that even someone like him gets to be one of them. I mean, they even made a dumbass joke about the alicorn sisters being useless throughout the show at the beginning of the season. However, the end of the episode will reveal why he was in that position. Seriously though, I could see Celestia being stupid enough to think that he would be good at the job. Rainbow Dash recalls Zephyr Breeze having a crush on her, and Rarity takes advantage of that fact to distract him. Rarity then takes down the bricks used to seal up the “secret passage”, and she and RD easily slip past Zephyr Breeze and get in. Next, we cut to Spike and Fluttershy getting in to the throne room, who get in after Spike cuts a hole through the stained-glass window. Too bad the guards or the sisters didn’t come up with a plan to prevent that kind of break-in. The duo tries to approach the crown only to encounter a goose who awaken the other sleeping goose, and the duo ultimately fall into the trapdoor that SA set next to the crown. Too bad nobody came up with a plan to handle the geese in case they tried to holler. It also seems that the trapdoor only leads to an underground chamber. How is any of this supposed to help against magical threats who can just blast their way out or around? Twilight becomes concerned as the new plan doesn’t appear to have worked out at all with Pinkie being unable to watch from above, AJ is no longer distracting the guards (looks like the guards grew bored of her performances), and the others haven’t returned with the crown. Twilight also says that she hasn’t heard anything from the ponies inside the castle, but phones, walkie-talkies, or anything similar don’t exist in their world, so what do they use for distant and immediate communication? I guess a letter from Spike might be one option, but that requires some paper. Otherwise, Rainbow Dash and Rarity don’t have any way to communicate with the other groups. Maybe this oversight was meant to show that this new plan was poorly thought out. While Fluttershy and Spike are trapped underground, they are unexpectedly freed after RD pulls a lever. RD and Rarity are lost and have no idea how to navigate through the “secret passage” as RD was just pulling levers to see what would happen next, so these 4 characters eventually decide to return to the surface and formulate a new and better plan for breaking in. They tell Twilight that almost all parts of this new plan failed (AJ did get a guard’s medal), and Spike suggests going with Twilight’s original plan because that’s easier to work with. And they do just that. Pinkie throws a party to distract the guards (those are some pretty terrible guards if they could get distracted so easily by a party or a performance), Rarity creates a guard costume (Twilight’s original plan had Rarity creating multiple guard costumes, but she must’ve realized that the other ponies have their own roles to play) and disguises herself to move among the guards more easily (too bad the guards also didn’t know that there shouldn’t be a guard that looks like her), Applejack bucks through some boulders blocking another “secret passage” with Maud’s help, and RD flies herself and Fluttershy through the blowing fans. Rarity, RD, and Fluttershy enter the throne room which sets off the geese before Fluttershy could calm them down, and that means SA will be aware of some intruders in the throne room. Spike, Twilight, and AJ finally arrive at the throne room through another “secret passage”, and everything seems to have gone too well. Twilight tries to take the crown, but SA as well as the alicorn sisters suddenly reveal themselves, much to Twilight’s disappointment. It looks like SA didn’t have any countermeasures to Twilight’s plans after all. He just wanted her to think that her plan worked so he could snatch the victory away from her at the very last moment to make his own victory taste even sweeter. SA seems to have won this contest as Twilight can’t escape with the crown and without getting caught, and I honestly wonder if either of them would be desperate enough to resort to combat. Suddenly, Spike reveals that he has the crown as well as his cohort in his master plan, Luna, and she is even petting a goose “evilly” in this scene. I can’t help but wonder if the writers knew this would become a meme. I feel like I should be amused by this scene, but I’m indifferent. I guess I’m just too disappointed that this shit is one of the best things to come from Luna. I’m actually not against having this scene, but this scene only serves to remind me that the writers were never productive with Luna. Spike then explains his plan to the other characters. He noticed that Luna was unhappy about Celestia disregarding her input, so he decided to work with Luna to take the crown for himself while also proving Luna’s point to Celestia about handling the security themselves. It turns out using Zephyr Breeze was part of Spike’s plan. Spike knew about Rarity and RD’s approach, so he tried to make sure that they would be able to get into the “secret passage” by bringing in a twat like him, and he knew the duo would get lost when trying to travel through the passage. Essentially, Spike counted on almost every part of the new plan to fail (he even tore the hot-air balloon) during the first attempted break-in so Twilight would be forced to enact her original plan. Spike also knew that Shining Armor would want Twilight to think that she had won, so Luna teleported the crown to Spike while Shining Armor brags about thinking he had won. Talk about irony. Celestia admits that she didn’t account for another weak point in SA’s security, which is handling a threat that is already in the castle itself. The alicorn sisters exchange some irritated smiles at each other, and I’m still indifferent about this. I’m sure the looks the sisters gave each other in the episode also became memes, and it’s too bad that’s all they amounted to. Spike is ultimately crowned as the winner of the competition, and the ponies all end the episode with a group hug. I honestly didn’t really care for this episode likely due to my lack of any genuine interest in the show. It doesn’t help that the episode kept reminding me about one of the stupider parts of the show. Showing the characters getting involved with a heist (and probably the main reason this episode was made) as well as some crazy plans is fine, but it’s too bad the crap about security serves as the backdrop of the episode. I bet there are viewers who poke fun at the royal guards being ineffective against threats, and that’s a fair point like I said earlier, but I will still reiterate the bigger problem. The episode ends with Luna being right and her input being necessary, but whatever point Luna wanted to make already has no weight. Episodes with major villains on a rampage are portrayed with genuine stakes, and the alicorn sisters have never been useful during any of those times, so why would/should they be useful now? I guess this just says more about the impression the show left on me, and it’s too bad this episode will be the only time Luna is ever competent. I should have just been focused only on the fact that the Mane 6 try to pull off some crazy plans only for another crazy plan to have been happening right under their noses, but I’m already taking some time to bitch about the stuff I don’t like about the show. I probably would have liked an episode like this more if it didn’t include the sisters or maybe anything about the security forces of Equestria. Better yet, the show could have avoided those problems, but excluding the sisters would be the better move at this point. I suppose I can still mention some things episode handled well besides seeing how the Mane 6 approached their new plan and then seeing it go wrong, one of which is how Spike viewed his relationship not just with Twilight, but her family as well. We’ve seen their relationship with each other over the show being familial and professional, but the episode now gives more insight into the former. We know in season 1 that Twilight knew Spike since the latter’s birth, and now we get to see more of their childhood together. During the flashback showing the Sibling Supreme competition, Spike was shown drawing his own gold stars under the chart with Twilight and SA. Not only does he see himself as part of the family (and the others probably do as well), but it’s a bit more specific here as he also sees himself as their younger brother. He also expresses disappointment about them not apparently seeing him the same way during a conversation with Fluttershy. It would seem that Twilight and Shining Armor simply saw him as a family member, so it’s more of a generic position to them. Spike was even a bit hurt when Twilight unknowingly brushes him off after he called himself a little brother. Now, they fully acknowledge Spike as a child they spent time with and also grow up with as children fillies. Spike even showed how well he knew them as he knew the moves they would make and how to convince Twilight to use her original plan so they would ultimately and unwittingly carry out his own plan. It may be a bit late to show SA’s relationship and a bit more of Spike’s relationship with Twilight, but at least the show never fucked them up in the first place. On that note, I could also mention the episode giving some insight into Twilight and Shining Armor’s relationship. Their rivalry over the crown felt genuine as they both showed strong feelings toward it, and it’s nice to see that they would rather get along with each other than fight over a toy. I’ll even admit that there’s some amusement to seeing Twilight and SA acting a bit childish when talking about the crown to reinforce the idea that it meant a lot to them in the past. And at least it’s nice to see Shining Armor be somewhat competent even though we don’t get to see that more often. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the only time he was somewhat competent. It’s a bit of a shame that the two didn’t get more interactions after this episode as the MLP wiki states that he doesn’t make a major appearance after this episode.
  8. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    There was something else about "The Beginning of the End" that also bugged me, but I didn't mention it earlier because I couldn't quite put my thoughts into words. When the state of Equestria worsened as Sombra's hold strengthened, the episode tried to convey that the main characters (especially Twilight) were in over their heads, and the end of the episode pretty much confirms as such since Twilight was given some actual preparation time before becoming the new ruler of Equestria. However, Equestria has been in some deep shit multiple times, so why was this case so bad compared to the others? Maybe it's because Twilight and friends were the ones who had to prove themselves capable, especially without additional help. It's true that even though Equestria has been in deep shit multiple times, that doesn't mean one should think less of this event. However, that leads to another problem I have. The episode itself even noted that the Mane 6 don't ever get additional help against supervillains. Celestia, Luna, and Star Swirl stepping in late into the episode was supposed to confirm that the Mane 6 did in fact need help after all, but their participation (at least from the sisters) felt arbitrary instead as they finally decide to be of some use in this episode when they could have easily participated in other 2-part episodes. I guess what I'm saying is that the episode's attempt to emphasize the gravity of the Mane 6 (or at least Twilight) being unprepared for bigger responsibilities and not yet ready to take the princesses' places felt hollow. Hopefully, this makes some sense.
  9. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    That's also contradictory as Twilight (or at least Twilight and friends) are the most important characters, at least in Equestria. "The Cutie Re-Mark" essentially dug (another) grave for the show. I'm gonna be petty and say that the bolded stuff were hardly done well. As in, what was the point of wrapping up those "arcs" if they were meaningless from the start? Yeah, Twilight was learning about friendship throughout the show, but that's hardly why she is just as good as (as in, better than) the other princesses. When you mentioned those new elements, I'm guessing that they ended up getting hardly any exploration. I find it hard to believe that the School of Friendship wasn't used much in the show, but it's not like I'll ever watch the remaining episodes of season 8 and 9 to form my own opinion.
  10. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I do think the show can be competent as most of its single episodes show, and then we have the two-part episodes. And "Magic Sheep". It didn't need to be more ambitious to be good, and those single episodes are still examples of that. I haven't read the comics in a long time. Can you explain this? I don't know if Lauren Faust sticking around would've helped the show if the first two seasons were anything to go by as the show still didn't play enough with the more interesting ideas it brought up. Then again, the show has been without her for almost its entire run that the show could easily turn out much differently than it is now, but there isn't too much of a point over wondering what could have been since they never happened and could just as easily turned out wasteful and clueless for any reason I haven't seen the end of season 9 yet, and I still have a few episodes to go over before I get to that point. However, I won't be going through those episodes very quickly as rambling about MLP isn't a priority for me right now. If you really want, you can express your thoughts anyways as I don't mind spoilers, though I'm not sure if there's much to spoil. I haven't read too much about the final episodes yet as I'm not terribly curious about how the show ends, and there's not much of a point in doing so as I know I would never be satisfied with how the show ended.
  11. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I talked about the season 2 finale in these two posts. You may be surprised to see that I liked the season 5 premiere, though I wouldn't call it great. The only other one I would say that I liked is the season 1 premiere. However, that review isn't expressed as well as I would like (and I think I'll also say that for almost all of my early reviews before I wrote them in a more rambly style), but it still more less sums up my thoughts about the season 1 premiere. I liked it, but I wouldn't say it's great. It's decent at best. The main reason I liked it was because part 1 set up the characters and gave a good starting points to get to know the characters in one episode. Part 2 was rushed, and this especially shows with the speed in which the Mane 6 pass through Nightmare Mon's obstacles, but it still showed the Mane 6 being friends with each other. Or at least start being friends with each other by helping each other and being there for each other. The season 7 finale deserves some kind of mention. I wouldn't call it great mainly because it came too late, but I might have actually liked it if an episode like that came much earlier into the show. As for the rest of the 2-parters, I either hate them or am indifferent to them. I think the season 5 finale also deserves a special mention as it's my least favorite episode of the entire show as well as my pick for the worst television episodes I've ever seen. I also feel like plugging in my review of the Luna's season 5 episode, which is written in that old style I mentioned. The short version is that I hated it, and that episode is my second least favorite episode of the entire show. The reason I hate that episode so much is that it embodies the worst aspects of the show, which is that it has a great idea and an underused character that was ripe for expansion, but the episode does nothing with either of them. It even had the gall to exclude Princess Celestia when there was no reason to. Not helping is that this episode was a prime opportunity to not only get her involved, but it was also an opportunity to show the sisters' relationship, and they somehow manage to waste that.
  12. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    That's probably a better question, especially if Tirek was imprisoned while in his weakened form. That only adds to the idea that Discord wasn't needed to deal with a weakened Tirek. As for the season 4 finale, @Metemponychosis and I hated it. I don't know if he put his opinions somewhere on this site, but my review of it is in two posts. I don't remember too much of season 4 as I only rewatched and rambled about the opener, finale, and "Three's a Crowd". And even if I were to think well of season 4 minus those episodes, the comment I made earlier today still holds.
  13. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    @Metemponychosis The show being clueless is nothing new, for better or worse. I feel like I could just watch the slice-of-life episodes and skip the 2-part episodes, but I'm generally more interested in the 2-part episodes due to their concepts. But as you can see, execution always beats concept. Also, all of the major events and changes happens in the 2-part episodes, and it's too bad the results are... not good. It sucks that the 2-part episodes have to be in the same continuity as the slice-of-life episodes. What does it say about the show if the stories with more money and effort put into them are the worst ones?
  14. Thanks for the follow. :)

     

    And FINALLY, you posted your review of the S9 premiere!

     

    I'm gonna read when i'm less hungry and tired.

    1. Number95

      Number95

      You're welcome. I thought I was following you earlier, but I guess I wasn't.

      Read it and comment whenever you can or want. I apologize for taking so long to put it up.

    2. Leonbrony17

      Leonbrony17

      It's okay, man. ;)

       

      Art can't be rushed.

  15. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    The Beginning of the End The Mane 6 rush to the Canterlot Castle as they have received an urgent notification from the alicorn sisters. It turns out that there isn’t anything urgent happening at the moment. In actuality, Equestria has been peaceful for a fair while now, and this period of peace is all thanks to Twilight and friends. This comment leads to the Mane 6 feeling so flattered, especially in Rainbow Dash’s case. She thinks the sisters haven’t noticed? When did the sisters ever credit themselves or miscredit the ones who saved Equestria? I’m also guessing that more than a fair amount of time has passed since “School Raze”. Then again, the passage of time between seasons has always been a tad vague, so it almost feels like the sisters forgot about all of the recent villains throughout the show plus the movie. It’s only just over 1 minute into the episode, and the episode has already encountered trouble. Only on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Let me start with the most obvious question: How was the state of Equestria before Nightmare Moon showed her lame face? See, if Equestria happened to be in peace during the 1000 years Princess Luna was gone, this creates a lot of unfortunate and unintentional implications. You could say that Equestria was somehow better off without Luna, and her return only led to the rise and/or return of a bunch of other villains. Maybe I could apply that idea to Twilight and friends instead as all of these villains only started popping up when those ponies started becoming friends. As much as I would like to entertain those ideas, I won’t. There’s nothing to suggest that any of those scenarios are actually true (even if the writers are incapable of proving otherwise), and this will just lead to discussions involving a bunch of stupid fan theories and headcanons. And besides, “The Cutie Re-Mark” already stated that Equestria can only survive if the Mane 6 are friends, so even having a bunch of villains being linked to the Mane 6 wouldn’t be harmful in the long run. Still, I am interested in exploring the general state of Equestria, and I’ll just roll with the fact that Equestria happened to recently attracted the attention of so many different villains for whatever reason. Like I asked before, how was the state of Equestria before the start of the show? If it was miraculously peaceful, I have to wonder how and why that was the case as it sure as hell isn’t so peaceful nowadays. If Princess Celestia didn’t have any experience dealing with any troublesome pests while she was in charge, that may explain why she has been unable to answer any threats that have appeared throughout the show. However, the show has never tried to consider this idea at any point, so her uselessness and incompetence are still obvious results of poor handling of characters and bad storytelling. If she really was out of her element when it comes to supervillains due to lack of experience (and I also can go with the possibility of her being out of practice after not facing villains for a thousand years), is it really that difficult for the show to just say so? It also doesn’t help that she has already shown a few feats involving plenty of magic like in “Twilight’s Kingdom” when she as transferring her powers to Twilight, in “Lesson Zero” when she undid Twilight’s spell immediately, and in “The Crystalling” where she and Luna fended off a huge blizzard, so the showrunners weren’t thinking that she was weak. However, I want to emphasize that none of those feats make up for her numerous failures over the course of the show. On the other hand, if Celestia did have to handle threats prior to the Mane 6 picking up the Elements of Harmony, why is she suddenly so useless and incompetent now? The show also has no answer to this. Maybe just helping Equestria run smoothy was supposed to be Celestia’s main job, and she would have a specialized team to handle threats kind of like a real-life government, but the show hasn’t chosen this route, either. So, no matter what I try to think, the answer always points to poor handling of characters and bad storytelling. Anyways, Princess Luna claims that this period of peace has given the sisters less to do. Really? I thought they’d have more time to perform their usual duties of running Equestria as they don’t have to focus their efforts on major threats. I’m not asking about the politics of Equestria as I don’t care about politics, but it’s not like the show has bothered to – well, show – what the sisters have done for Equestria. Luna may have done some dream-walking, but it’s not like I can say how this has helped Equestria as a whole. Wouldn’t it have been nice if we could actually feel and notice the effects Luna’s job had on the other ponies and how that benefitted Equestria as a whole or at least parts of Equestria? Why limit her influence to just the Cutie Mark Crusaders? It’s too bad Princess Celestia couldn’t have been given a similarly positive, if vague and ultimately worthless, treatment. If the sisters’ job only involves protecting Equestria, then they have fucking sucked at this job. I actually wonder if the show has noticed that this task has always belonged the Mane 6 plus certain other characters. While it’s nice for Equestria to not have something that threatens its overall well-being at this moment, there’s no reason to thank Celestia and Luna for its current state. As a result of not feeling needed anymore (not that I can figure out what the sisters were ever needed for), they decide to retire and have the Mane 6 take over their jobs. This naturally puts Twilight in shock, but she would be thankful to know that Equestria wouldn’t lose much if it ditched the alicorn sisters. Or maybe she wouldn’t be so thankful as she would have to deal the fact that two of the most important ponies, one of whom is her idol, are fucking worthless. Nah, that would never happen. No matter what stupid shit MLP pulls, it will always say that the sisters are invaluable even if it prefers to show the opposite. The sisters claim that the Mane 6 are fit to rule Equestria because they have overcome various challenges, especially the supervillains. I want to note that I will continue to disregard real-life politics when it comes to this show. Not only do I not know or care much for politics, but any work of fiction will pretty much simply politics just to prevent the work from getting too complicated and bloated (unless the work itself is about politics, which MLP clearly isn’t), so it wouldn’t be fair to knock on the show for not accurately representing the duties of a ruler. Still, there’s more to ruling a country than handling supervillains. Otherwise, Celestia and Luna are already unqualified for the position. If I take the sisters’ statements more literally, which is overcoming various challenges and some friendship problems (Luna mentioned the Friendship Journal during this scene), then I would say that life throws various problems and challenges at everyone anyways, so their reason for the Mane 6 being fit to rule are still vague. Unlike Twilight, the rest of the Mane 6 don’t hesitate to accept this news for whatever reason, and Twilight eventually goes along with this news to conform with her friends. That’s great. The show is already indifferent to the fact that the Mane 6 will rule of a country. At the Crystal Castle, Twilight is still panicking about this news, but her friends are calm as they knew how Twilight would react and want to help her through her problem. They say that Twilight acts in a certain way when being panicky, but I don’t how true that is nor do I care to check. I’ll at least give the episode credit for showing why these other characters are her friends. Twilight is concerned about being unable to call for help if they come across a problem they can’t handle only for RD to point out that the alicorn sisters “almost never” help. As if pointing out the sisters’ uselessness actually solves anything because it doesn’t change the fact that they were and are still useless. RD, or the writers really, want to believe that the sisters being incompetent and useless was meant to test the Mane 6’s (or just Twilight, who the fuck knows?) abilities and see if they were fit to rule Equestria. Too bad that reason still doesn’t work because nothing suggests that Celestia and Luna were ever capable of handling whatever they threw at the Mane 6, so it always came off more as the alicorn sisters telling the Mane 6 to clean up the messes the alicorn sisters should’ve been able to clean up or at least help with. For example, how did Celestia decide that making stupid choices while Equestria was in danger was a good time to test Twilight’s abilities in “Twilight’s Kingdom”? Instead of helping the Mane 6 look capable, it just made the sisters look incapable, and it just makes me wonder how the sisters were even allowed to rule Equestria in the first place. Next, we cut to several villains. Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow are transported to… somewhere. I have no idea where they are or if they’re even in Equestria. More noticeably, Sombra is revived and speaking. It turns out that this gathering was put together by some goat name Grogar, which gets a gasp from everyone except Cozy Glow. Sombra said that he heard of Grogar, so I guess Grogar is at least 1000 years old. Chrysalis is also familiar with Tirek and Sombra, and Tirek knows about Changelings. I wonder how these supervillains get to learn about the others’ existence. Are Changelings not so uncommon in Equestria? Tirek and Sombra are rather ancient, and it’s not like the show confirmed that average pony in Equestria knows much about the average Equestrian villain. Is there some encyclopedia about supervillains that gets shared around? Cozy Glow is pretty young, so it makes sense that she wouldn’t know too much about some supervillains, or maybe she didn’t get the chance to read the encyclopedia yet. Grogar reveals that he gathered these other supervillains to kill Twilight and friends. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but the alicorn sisters (plus Cadance, I guess) are so worthless that even a new supervillain doesn’t care to kill them. And I’ll also repeat that the show could at least admit that the alicorn sisters (plus Cadance again, I guess) are worthless. That may lead to a bunch of problems, but that just means the show shouldn’t have allowed this problem to have festered as much as it did. Time for some backstory on Grogar. He was an evil overlord who ruled Equestria before the country was even known as Equestria, and his ultimate plan was to take over the world. Grogar also created monsters to do his bidding. His orb then shows silhouettes of monsters devouring, or rather killing, ponies, which is actually a decent way of trying to show killing and death without directly referencing them. However, someone named Gusty the Great was able to overthrow Grogar, but that of course didn’t stop Grogar completely as he has been waiting for the right time to return and finish what he started. The MLP wiki said that Gusty the Great is a pony (at least in the not-so-canon comics) and was mentioned in a season 7 episode, but there isn’t too much on Gusty overall in any MLP media. I mean, I wouldn’t mind getting more information about Gusty the Great to see how the show can continue to make the non-Twilight alicorns even more worthless than they already are. Grogar says that he has watched each of these villains try and fail to take over Equestria, and he claims that the Mane 6 were able to overpower them because of teamwork. Actually, teamwork from the Mane 6 hasn’t been the reason for any of these villains’ downfall. More specifically, the Mane 6 was involved with the defeat of only one of these villains, which is Tirek. Chrysalis was first defeated by Cadance and Shining Armor through the power of love and without much actual help from the Mane 6, and she was defeated at the end of season 6 by her own minions hearing a speech from Starlight and somehow harnessing the power of love to unleash a magical blast at Chrysalis. I read that Chrysalis appeared in the season 8 episode “The Mean 6”, but the Mane 6 don’t encounter her. As you can see, the Mane 6 were never directly involved with Chrysalis’s defeat. In Sombra’s case, that’s a bit weird. Celestia and Luna somehow took care of him 1000 years ago, so he has been gone for a long time now. In “The Crystal Empire”, he showed up as an apparition and was ultimately defeated when Cadance returned the Crystal Heart to its proper place. The Mane 6 did sort of work together by taking on different assignments, but since most of the main characters in that episode didn’t directly confront Sombra or take on tasks meant to deal with him or keep him at bay, you still can’t say that the Mane 6 working together led to Sombra’s defeat. In the case of Tirek, “Twilight’s Kingdom” featured no teamwork whatsoever. Anyone who wasn’t Twilight was useless to the story, and all the Mane 6 did to beat Tirek was to stand together at the Tree of Harmony after using Twilight’s key and unleash a variation of the blast normally created by the Elements of Harmony. Cozy Glow was defeated by the Student 6 and not the Mane 6. While the Student 6 showed unity and friendship, I can’t exactly say that teamwork was involved as each of the Student 6 didn’t provide a certain skill to approach a problem, and the conflict with Cozy Glow was solved when the Tree of Harmony blessed the students. In summary, the show doesn’t even know itself. Anyways, as Grogar thinks that the Mane 6 being able to help each other has led to their numerous victories, he suggests demands an alliance among his fellow villains to conquer Equestria. However, Sombra isn’t interested in a team up and decides to conquer the Crystal Empire himself. Does he plan to do anything about the rest of Equestria? I don’t know why he wants to settle only for the Crystal Empire. Grogar warns him about failing and threatens to send him back to hell wherever he came from if that happens. On a side note, even though Cozy Glow’s prison was next to Tirek’s, she doesn’t seem to have acquainted herself with him. Back at the School of Friendship, Starlight visits Twilight, and Starlight seems to have gotten news of Celestia’s proposal to the Mane 6 off-screen. Twilight then announces that she will leave Starlight in charge of the School of Friendship and the Crystal Castle, and Starlight is also surprised about this transfer of power. Starlight getting the Crystal Castle all to herself? I wonder if she will get lonely. Then again, she will have the entire space to herself, so she can do as she pleases. Will she ask for other ponies to live with her? I don’t know if the series finale will answer that, but I’ll get my answer soon enough. Starlight doesn’t seem to take this news about this transfer of power to herself well and freaks out like Twilight did upon receiving her own news. Starlight is reassured about her own abilities and tries to use this moment to convince Twilight of her own abilities, but that doesn’t work as Twilight notes that running a country isn’t on the same level as running a school. See, the episode does know that Twilight will be taking care of the entirety of Equestria and not just defending it from threats. I don’t know why the episode kept talking about the latter only. Then again, it wouldn’t be unusual for an episode of MLP to not know what it’s talking about. At the Crystal Empire, Sombra makes an entrance with his dark clouds and dark crystals. There’s this one scene I quite liked when Sombra encounters a fallen and helpless filly, and the filly’s parents quickly pick her up and glare at Sombra defiantly. It’s a short and simple scene showing how one set of background ponies reacted to this event. Too bad they are immediately mind controlled by Sombra. The royal guards arrive and unsuccessfully try to apprehend Sombra and are instead also put under his control with helmets like the ones shown in “The Cutie Re-Mark”. I know a number of online fans have complained about the royal guards being useless, and while that complaint is valid, it isn’t as bad as making the non-Twilight alicorns useless. Unlike the other alicorns who get plenty of praise, the guards are nobodies and are thus more expendable. Of course, I would like to see them be a little more helpful and even work with the main characters if possible, but the alicorn problem should be addressed before the writers try that. Sombra along with the newly converted royal guards storm the castle, and Cadance writes a letter calling out Twilight for help. I’m not saying that Twilight shouldn’t get a letter, but shouldn’t the other princesses get a letter as well? I’ll be generous and assume Cadance only had time to send one letter. She and Shining Armor look for Flurry Heart only to find Flurry Heart already apprehended by Sombra. I would say that they should’ve kept Flurry Heart close by, but it’s certainly possible that things in the Crystal Empire were peaceful, and Flurry Heart was enjoying some alone time before Sombra showed up. There’s another amusing scene with Flurry Heart trying to bite Sombra, and it’s too bad her power has been suppressed because she probably would have liked to take a shot at him. Normally, I would like that Shining Armor and especially Cadance, who was ready to attack, were showing some defiance against Sombra, but that doesn’t make up for their uselessness during other 2-parters or overall inconsequential presence in the show. With Flurry Heart as leverage, Sombra has successfully conquered the Crystal Empire and chained up the royal family. Why hasn’t he put his special helmets on them? Did he run out or something? Are the chains dampening their powers? Even if they are, there’s still no reason for him not to put helmets on those ponies. He asks the royal family to bow to him, and all except Flurry Heart do. It’s a rather interesting mix of emotions from Flurry Heart as she tries to be defiant, but her face also conveys defeat and sorrow as her parents bow. I feel like I should be annoyed that the Crystal Empire was conquered so easily, but I’m not for some reason. If the show were handled better, I might say that the rulers had a real reason to surrender. I don’t know if I feel the way I do because I’m just not particularly interested in the show that much nowadays, or maybe I don’t care about the fate of the Crystal Empire as it is so underutilized. I guess I feel indifferent about this development. Next is a scene with Twilight and friends including Discord meeting at the Crystal Castle, and Twilight has just notified the others about getting the letter from Cadance. Fluttershy considers notifying Celestia and Luna about this. The sisters may have handled Sombra in the past, but they would immediately get their asses kicked in this day and age with the explanation behind their defeat being that Sombra became more powerful due to a power boost from Grogar. Or maybe Sombra was going easy on them in the past and was initially caught off guard, and that would just feed the idea that the sisters were never that powerful in the first place, and that already leads to a bunch of other questions. Or maybe Sombra will just immediately ambush and incapacitate the sisters, which begs the question of their involvement in the first place. Discord even calls the alicorn sisters the “real” rulers of Equestria. See? The show is still putting the sisters on some kind of a pedestal, and yet it is still uncertain about its own perspective of the sisters as usual. Twilight decides to not notify the sisters and then responds that they must handle this situation without additional help if they are to run Equetria. I guess she already forgot that they rarely, if ever, get that much additional help when facing situations like this, and she also already forgot about RD saying that the Celestia and Luna almost never help. She then considers asking Discord to take care of Sombra. There’s an interesting bit of irony here. Normally, Celestia and Luna would ask and/or leave the Mane 6 to do everything, and this time the Mane 6 want Discord to deal with Sombra for them. I also think this is the first time the Mane 6 directly asked Discord to deal with a villain. Otherwise, he’s simply absent for one reason or another. I don’t know what Discord does on an average day, but I assumed that he just does whatever he likes during his own time. He may be with the Mane 6 now, but he isn’t inseparable from them. Although, I’m not sure what his relationship with Fluttershy is like right now. I remember at least a few episodes (though I don’t remember which exactly) showing Discord living in his own chaotic dimension, and if he didn’t sync that dimension with Equestria, he wouldn’t be aware of whatever is happening in Equestria. It seems that I am not that bothered about Discord usually absent during some two-parters or even the movie. For one thing, the show doesn’t go out of its way to exclude Discord. For some recent examples, “School Daze” had Princess Celestia immediately saying that she couldn’t do much about the EEA, and “Shadow Play” had Celestia saying early on that she couldn’t read an old language in a book that talked about the fate of some ancient and major figures. It also helps that those episodes don’t fall into the amateurish trap of making a powerful character look helpless to emphasize the gravity of a situation. And Discord isn’t as associated with Equestria as Celestia and Luna. Celestia and Luna are the ones who are in charge of and thus responsible for Equestria’s well-being, and Discord might as well be living in another country (or like I said earlier, another dimension). If Discord was somehow in charge of Equestria, and let’s assume he’s still a good guy in that role, he would look pretty ineffective and incompetent if he was unable to carry out a basic part of his job. Discord ultimately turns down the offer to beat Sombra on the spot as he also agrees with the (arbitrary) idea of the next set of rulers needing some independence when dealing with a major problem. Since Sombra already took over the Crystal Empire, accessing the Crystal Heart may not be so easy, so the Mane 6 decides to use the Elements of Harmony. Discord disagrees with using the Elements as they weren’t used back in “The Crystal Empire”, and while that’s true, he also says that using the Elements would mean that the Mane 6 had additional help in dealing with Sombra. I guess that’s also true to a degree, but they’ve used the Elements of Harmony multiple times to handle guys like Sombra. They were used back in “Shadow Play” not too long ago and even against Discord himself. Let’s not forget that Celestia and Luna used the Elements of Harmony at least once, so I don’t exactly know why Discord is objecting to this plan. And Twilight also shoots down Discord’s disagreement because her family being in danger gives her more of a reason to use the Elements. We’re back in the Crystal Empire, and Cadance, Shining Armor, and Flurry Heart are trapped in some kind of prison made of dark crystals that their magic can’t break through. I still can’t figure out why Sombra hasn’t tried to mind control them yet, but whatever. The Mane 6 show up with the Elements of Harmony and immediately charge toward Sombra. I also can’t figure out why they don’t just active the Elements right then and there, but whatever again. Sombra stops the Mane 6 by subjecting them to their worst fears, but we only get to see Twilight’s worst fears which is pretty much letting down and being unable to help the ponies she cares about. The Elements of Harmony glow and break through Sombra’s spell, and Twilight tells him that they just wanted to distract him so Spike could break down the prison and free Cadance, Shining Armor, and Flurry Heart. Spike’s flames were able to break down the dark crystals, so his prison only seems to deflect pony magic. I have to admit that this was a pretty good way to use Spike as an ace in the hole. Still, I think the Mane 6 could’ve unleashed their Elements, and their magic could take care of Sombra as well as his dark crystals, or just take care of Sombra so they wouldn’t face any opposition. But they wanted to let Spike see some action, so I can accept this. Cadance grabs the Crystal Heart and returns it to its proper location, and this also clears the entire Crystal Empire of Sombra’s touch. The Mane 6 then immediately blast away Sombra, and another amusing scene pops up right after with Cadance returning to the castle ready to attack Sombra only to learn that he is already gone. The Mane 6 are surprised at taking this victory so easily, and Twilight is then reassured of her own capabilities. They haven’t noticed that the Elements of Harmony almost always lead to easy victories. The only exception to this was in “Shadow Play” with the Pony of Shadows, and the reason that one wasn’t as easy was because the episode wanted to give some time to let Twilight and Starlight converse with Stygian. After Stygian was rescued, the Pony of Shadows was quickly banished. Sombra obviously hasn’t truly been beaten because that victory was still too quick and easy even by the show’s own standards, and there’s a second episode that has yet to happen. Killing him so soon after his resurrection would also be wasteful. Then again, it wouldn’t look unusual for the show to be too wasteful. The Mane 6 return to the Tree of Harmony to return the Elements to it, and black clouds suddenly emerge. Next, black crystals sprout from the ground and destroy the tree, and the Elements of Harmony fly out of the tree and shatter after crashing into the ground. I thought that ancient magical artifacts like those wouldn’t be so easy to shatter because it almost feels like one could accidentally break them, but whatever yet again. The Mane 6 now learn that Sombra faked his defeat so he could be led to their source of power and destroy it. In “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, the Tree of Harmony needed the Elements to be at full power. Discord planted plunder seeds, but they weren’t able to sprout as the Tree was still protect Equestria even without holding the Elements. The Tree got weaker over time until the beginning of season 4, or maybe the seeds just sprouted very slowly, and the Tree regaining its Elements eliminated all traces of Discord’s seeds. Now that the Tree is destroyed, Equestria will be vulnerable to similar magical attacks. Or maybe it won’t as the Mane 6 will be there to continue protecting Equestria with the writers’ blessings while the ones who are supposed to do the protecting will fall helplessly with additional blessings from the same writers. Maybe Twilight is just so much better than Celestia and Luna that she won’t need something like that to passively protect Equestria from magical threats because she’ll simply cast a spell that doesn’t require maintenance to serve the same purpose. Bonus points if Twilight conveniently discovers such a spell in the future. Or maybe Celestia and Luna just suck so much that they need something like that Tree to passively keep Equestria safe and are unable to cast a spell that does something similar. Time for part 2. Sombra cackles about his apparent victory while the Mane 6 are in shock and denial about the Elements and Tree being destroyed. Twilight is especially distraught about this turn of events. RD decides that they should attack him “the old-fashioned way”, which of course means charging directly at him, intending some physical attacks. Everyone, except Twilight of course, looks so eager to attack, but they are too confident as I don’t know how RD or anyone else expects this to work. Sombra also seems all too aware of this awkward plan as he creates another prison of dark crystals to trap the Mane 6, and Twilight tries to blast away the prison to avail. It’s not like Twilight’s friends would have been able to do anything against Sombra as Twilight is the only who could partake in a magical battle. AJ and RD would have to resort to physical attacks, which won’t be nearly as effective as magic, Pinkie’s “randomness” would be ditched to maintain stakes, Rarity’s magic isn’t nearly as potent as Twilight and would only come off as a pest to a powerful villain, and I don’t know what Fluttershy could do. Sombra finally realizes that he can now take over Equestria instead of just the Crystal Empire. He no longer cares about Celestia and Luna. I’ve mentioned more than a few times about how low the sisters have fallen, but that won’t stop me from pointing it out and getting annoyed about this. Sombra spites the Mane 6 by targeting Ponyville first, and he threatens to subject them to their fears again only to pull away as he is confident about them being powerless. At least this fits his overconfident nature, so I’m not against this decision. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to incapacitate them, but the Mane 6 would just power through their fears anyways, so whatever. Sombra leaves, and all 6 ponies are now distraught. Twilight is doubting herself again, and this feeling is compounded with her sense of powerlessness against such terrible odds. I want to comment more on this, but I’ll save that for later. RD says that Pinkie would normally say something funny to cheer them up and give them hope, and I don’t know how true that is, but Pinkie has nothing this time. At least she knows not to say something stupid under dire circumstances. Rarity even cries for Sweetie Belle’s safety and muses that she’s that she’s trying to be strong by not crying. In a way, Rarity openly showing tears can be a sign of strength as she’s not afraid to show and admit how she feels. Thankfully, she isn’t too broken up about this as that would’ve diverted her focus and resolve. See? Showing tears isn’t a bad thing. I think this is something that kids and adults should know about. Anyways, as blasting through the crystal prison isn’t an option (and neither is charging through the crystals, though I’ll assume the crystals are too tough to physically break), Twilight decides to dig under the prison (without magic for some reason) with her friends following suit not long after. This is why Sombra should’ve incapacitated them, but like I said, they would’ve just broken out somehow. He could have killed them, too, but that would never happen even if this were given a higher age rating as this would be a pretty unceremonious way for any of the Mane 6 to die. Even Rarity decides to help dig as saving Sweetie Belle as well as the rest of Ponyville matters more than dirty hooves. The Mane 6 arrive at Ponyville, but Sombra has been victorious for some time with the citizens of Ponyville already reduced to mind-controlled minions. Apple Bloom is one of the first victims the Mane 6 sees, but Twilight’s magic isn’t powerful enough to break Apple Bloom away from Sombra’s control. Spike and even the all-powerful Starlight have also already fallen to Sombra. How did the wimpy Celestia and Luna ever beat Sombra, again? Sombra approaches Canterlot Castle and its throne room only to discover the lack of alicorns inside. He even thinks that the sisters chickened out from facing him. Why didn’t the sisters do this back when Tirek was on a rampage? He might even wonder how they could possibly have beaten him during their previous encounter. However, there is an explanation for their disappearance which will be revealed shortly later. Since, the Tree of Harmony is gone, the vines from the Everfree Forest spontaneously grow and threaten to cover all of Ponyville. In “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, Princess Celestia said that the Tree’s magic was able to prevent the Everfree Forest from growing out of control. However, I’m wondering what caused the Everfree Forest to grow out of control in the first place. Did the show provide an explanation at any point? The Mane 6 grab some gardening tools to combat these vicious vines, and I wonder how this is supposed to help. As the vines are continuously growing, simply cutting them down wouldn’t stop their growth. Shouldn’t they be focused on trying to stop the vines from growing further before cutting them down? It looks like they realize this later as they’ve been hacking at the vines for a while with no apparent progress. Suddenly, Celestia and Luna show their faces, and AJ is overjoyed to see them. Turns out Star Swirl alerted the sisters about the Everfree Forest, and he knew about the Tree’s destruction/death due to having some internal magical connection to the Tree. The episode didn’t explicitly say or even imply that, but it’s an explanation I can roll with as the Pillars were the ones who grew the Tree in the first place, and Star Swirl himself is a pretty powerful wizard. He also said that the Pillars were the ones who dealt with the Everfree Forest’s uncontrollable growth before they planted the Tree of Harmony, and that job must have been a pain in the ass since the Everfree Forest would just immediately start growing and need constant maintenance. Celestia and Luna finally learn about Sombra’s return, so they didn’t chicken out of a confrontation like Sombra thought. Too bad Cadance didn’t notify the alicorn sisters about Sombra’s return because the would have known to leave Canterlot with some form of defense while they left to deal with the Everfree Forest. Then again, considering how worthless and incompetent the sisters are and how much the show would rather artificially increase tension and stakes to give the Mane 6 a bigger hurdle to jump over, it’s not like anything the sisters did would’ve worked. Celestia tells the Mane 6 to deal with Sombra while she, Luna, and Star Swirl deal with the Everfree Forest. Earlier, Twilight couldn’t muster up enough magic to destroy a ton vines and significantly slow their growth, but Celestia, Luna, and Star Swirl don’t have that problem. It’s amazing how many problems the show keeps stumbling into. In this case, Celestia and Luna do have more raw magic than Twilight to spare, so their powerlessness over the show yet again doesn’t make sense. Then again, nothing about the sisters makes sense. The Mane 6 go to Canterlot and find themselves staring down at the ponies of Ponyville as well as the Wonderbolts. They are initially reluctant to directly deal with the mind-controlled ponies at first until the mind-controlled ponies decide to attack. Since they don’t want to be stuck in such an uncomfortable situation too long, Twilight decides to teleport themselves inside the Canterlot Castle. She could’ve done that much sooner as they didn’t really have anything else to do. I mean, they didn’t want to confront innocent ponies under a spell, and they couldn’t break the mind control, but better late than never. Twilight continues to feel distraught about their current situation, and then Discord shows up and notices how deep in shit they are. He points out that they have no Elements (I guess he has some internal connection to the Tree), and that the other Princesses aren’t with them. He was already thinking that the Mane 6 were shaping up to be the best protectors Equestria ever had. Um, aren’t they already? What competition do they have for that kind of recognition? And why is the show still giving weight to the alicorn sisters being missing and unable to help? I really shouldn’t be surprised at the show’s stupidity, but I can’t stop being in awe about how far this show’s stupidity goes even when I already know that it reaches too far. Sombra is decorating the throne room with his dark crystals until the Mane 6 suddenly appears. Sombra tries to zap them until Discord intervenes and nullifies every shot Sombra makes. Discord expresses disappointment about the Mane 6 being unable to handle Sombra and also mentions his special attachment toward Fluttershy. This statement causes Sombra to aim a shot directly at Fluttershy, which Discord responds to by jumping in front of Fluttershy and taking the attack. Discord could’ve easily nullified that shot in the same way he nullified the others, but there’s an explanation for this choice, which I’ll get to shortly later. The blast seems to have taken quite a toll on Discord as he’s unable to cast any of his own spells, which results in Sombra relishing this key victory in his conquest over Equestria. On a sidenote, Sombra is also familiar with Discord. So, is there really an encyclopedia about supervillains? The Mane 6 lose hope as they don’t know how else to answer to Sombra, and Discord gives a speech about them only needing themselves and each other to beat the villain and save Equestria. Twilight thinks that they have been victorious due to teamwork, and I’ll reiterate that teamwork in 2-part episodes doesn’t happen as often as any of them think. The only times I can think of that feature them working together to save Equestria include “Friendship is Magic”, “Shadow Play”, and “School Raze”. It’s worth mentioning that “School Raze” put the Mane 6 on the sidelines to give spotlight to the Student 6, but at least it did feature the Mane 6 actually working together even if it’s just to escape Tartarus, so I’ll still give that episode credit for showing teamwork. I suppose “The Crystal Empire” did have some amount of teamwork as each of the Mane 6 had their own assignments to complete for the sake of the Crystal Empire, so I’ll be generous and count that as well. So far, before this episode, it’s 4 out of 12 two-part episodes (“School Daze” was excluded as that episode didn’t feature any extremely huge stakes) in which the Mane 6 worked together toward a solution. Y’know, LESS THAN HALF the time. Twilight feels reinvigorated by Discord’s speech and also by the presence of her friends, so the Mane 6 march triumphantly toward Sombra. Sombra tries to zap the Mane 6, but Twilight deflects all of Sombra’s attacks. Either Sombra isn’t as tough as the show would like to say, Twilight is tougher than the show would like to say, the alicorn sisters still aren’t as tough as the show would like to say, or all of the above. By the way, good thing Twilight is a master magician because I don’t know how any of her friends would have been able to deal with a blast if successfully connected to any one of them. The Mane 6 stand together, join hooves, and together they use the magic from within themselves to recreate the power from the Elements of Harmony to blast Sombra into oblivion. This is just like the ending of the first Equestria Girls movie, and I can’t say that I’m fond of either scenarios because the show has always established that the Elements of Harmony were the sources of the most powerful magic in Equestria. It doesn’t help that in “Shadow Play”, the Pillars needed to use their own respective artifacts to unleash a magical blast against the Pony of Shadows, so that still just fuels the idea of such powerful magic needing an amplifier to be unleashed in the first place. Of course, they all need the appropriate wielders to do their thing so not just anyone can use the artifacts. On the other hand, maybe they wanted to play with the idea of discovering “the power within” so the Mane 6 wouldn’t always need to rely on the Elements to beat the bad guy, though taking that route makes the existence of the Elements pointless. In actuality though, they wanted to truly show that the power of friendship and not magical artifacts are responsible for defeating the villain and saving the day. However, that still comes with its share of problems. So, they’re the ponies who embody their respective traits? Way to open yourselves up to more problems, writers. For one thing, that still doesn’t support the idea that friendship defeated the villain. I have to emphasize again that it’s their friendship that did the job, and that possessive pronoun makes such a huge difference because it leads to another problem. Well, a problem that has always been present, but another problem nonetheless. Now, I understand that the Mane 6 are the main characters, so it makes more sense for an episode like this to place some importance on them and to put them at the frontlines, but the show always goes too far in that regard. The show is still diminishing other ponies just to elevate the Mane 6, and that only makes the other ponies worthless instead of proving that the Mane 6 are helpful and valuable. The writers probably don’t want another random group of friends to be the ones that defeat Sombra because the Mane 6 would not seem so necessary if any kind of friendship is already enough. So, how could we show that friendship is magic by giving other kinds of friends some importance while still keeping the Mane 6 at the frontlines? I would say that assigning tasks to minor ponies is one option, but there’s still another problem that needs to be addressed. If the Mane 6 are the only ones who can unleash the magic from the Elements of Harmony, that still elevates the Mane 6 while diminishing every other pony in Equestria. I said in “School Raze” that the show should not have weaponized friendship in the first place as doing so came with too many bad implications, but I don’t know how else the show can still create a large confrontation against the villain if powerful magic can’t and won’t be used. Sure, Twilight has some powerful magic, but would Twilight being the only pony seeing major action improve the 2-part episodes? At the very least, weaponizing friendship as literal magic should be the first thing to go. The next step can be to actually have ponies and not just the Mane 6 work as a team and as friends to achieve a goal. The focus can still stay on the Mane 6, but they shouldn’t be the only active ponies. And is it really a crime to dedicate one or even two season openers or finales to at least one of the alicorn sisters while making the Mane 6 major supporting characters? Otherwise, if there really is no way to tell large-stakes stories in 2-part episodes that can weaponize friendship metaphorically or not without making other ponies seem inconsequential, then these kinds of episodes shouldn’t be made in the first place. Back to the episode. Sombra’s true defeat is still anticlimactic. The six ponies are still just standing (or floating) around and blasting the villain, like with any other episode that required the Elements to defeat the villain. The alicorn sisters return to their throne room, and they find the Mane 6 are tending to Discord who is no doubt enjoying their sympathies. Twilight runs up to Celestia and admits that she made some mistakes in this episode and isn’t ready to rule Equestria just yet. She even admits that she should’ve called Celestia and Luna for help, but what could those two possibly help with? Sure, they blasted the vines, but that’s practically nothing when taking the entire show into consideration. This wouldn’t have been as bad if the alicorn sisters were handled better as this can be another example of them providing some support from behind, but we’d be talking about a completely different show if the sisters were handled better. Why couldn’t they have been more helpful in “Twilight’s Kingdom”? Or “Shadow Play”? Or “The Return of Harmony”? Oh, Twilight was being tested for her capabilities? So, Celestia making stupid choices while Tirek was on a rampage, being unable to decipher an old language when approached about the fate of the Pillars, or simply being powerless against the villains were legit reasons to test Twilight? I would wonder if Celestia somehow knew she was unfit to rule and has been looking for a replacement for some time, but then I would also wonder how she even deemed by herself or anyone else to be fit to rule at all. Princess Celestia responds to Twilight, and I quote, a good leader knows when to ask for help while a great leader owns up to their mistakes and tries to correct them. Well, Celestia is sure as hell not a “great” leader, then. I’d try to say the same about Luna, but I don’t remember an instance where she had to make important decisions for the sake of Equestria. Maybe I could say that they’re “good” leaders as they ask for help with problems they’re unable to solve, but there’s a difference between asking for genuine help and always asking for help while never contributing anything important at any time. The show is always more interested in saying what Celestia can’t do while not actually showing what she can do. At least this episode shows her using some powerful magical blasts, but I’ll just repeat that this already leads to a bunch of other questions. Luna can dream-walk, but I’ve already given my say on that. Celestia then reaffirms that Twilight has the makings of a “great” leader, but she may have thrusted this onto Twilight too suddenly and will let Twilight take over when she finally feels ready. Was this supposed to be another test? Whether this was or wasn’t, my shitload of questions still apply. Discord gets pissed off about this development happening later instead of sooner and reveals that he faked his injury from Sombra earlier to give Twilight some inspiration and encouragement. He should know that his efforts weren’t entirely wasted as Twilight and friends did prove themselves for a bit, but they still need to prepare themselves to handle a huge task such as ruling a country. Luna muses that she and her sister enjoyed being able to make an actual contribution toward a solution. She even said that it has been years since they have seen some action. Aside from some questions I asked much earlier, it has been over 1000 years in the case of Luna. When was the last time Luna herself got into a confrontation? Never in this show. The closest I can think of is “The Crystalling”, and all the sisters did was fend off a huge blizzard. Luna adds that the Mane 6 makes the fighting look easy. Aside from the fact that there’s barely any fighting at all, it is pretty easy for the Mane 6 to handle villains with their Elements as all they have to do is pose with the Elements doing the rest. It’s back to the villain team with Cozy Glow trying to get along with Tirek and Chrysalis, but the latter two aren’t interested. I wonder if she’s trying to get them on her side so she can use them for her own purposes like she tried with other ponies in “School Raze”. She even gets annoyed about her partners being reluctant to get along with her. Grogar emerges and announces that Sombra has failed to conquer Equestria and becomes more insistent about joining forces to defeat the Mane 6 and rule Equestria. What happened to the Everfree Forest? How did the 3 ponies there stop it from growing? Unless they have answered that question, wouldn’t the Forest continue growing as they stand and speak? Well, I hated this episode. I don’t know how bad I would say this 2-parter is compared to others, but it’s easily the worst since “The Cutie Re-Mark”. The writers would have to purposefully make something worse than “The Cutie Re-Mark”, and I can honestly see them trying to do something that ridiculous, but I digress. I might as well talk about Sombra as this is the episode in which he is most prominent. I’ve read plenty of online comments about him being lame in “The Crystal Empire” as he was just a generic evil presence who growled, and I can see where they’re coming from as he didn’t do a whole lot even as a dark presence until that episode’s climax. But I didn’t think he was lame. He was just sort of there, and at least he was able to pose a threat. I would say that he served his purpose adequately, even if it could have been better. In this episode, he’s a pretty good villain. He’s smug, boastful, talkative, overconfident, and even clever. I liked that he played the Mane 6 by faking his own defeat so he could destroy the Elements of Harmony. He even thinks nothing of his opposition such as thinking that Celestia and Luna are cowards (though I can’t say he’s wrong about that) and not bothering to mind control the Mane 6 when he had the chance (though it wouldn’t have mattered if he did that anyways) as he didn’t see them as threats after destroying their Elements and trapping them. He is even aware of Discord and seeing up close how obviously outclassed is against Discord, he refuses to believe that he is inferior to anyone and celebrates his victory too well after thinking he beat Discord. Sombra’s ego greatly shows and also bites him in the ass when he gets frustrated at Discord nullifying his attacks and later when the Mane 6 blast him with their internal Elements. I guess I can say that Sombra’s characterization is pretty good in this episode, and I might have liked him more if the show was better. Too bad there isn’t much else I liked about the episode. There are some minor moments in the episode that I liked, but they’re just that. Moments. Time for the bad, then. I remember reading that one of Lauren Faust’s goal for the show was to have Twilight succeed Celestia as ruler of Equestria. That doesn’t mean I will give the episode points for following through with Lauren’s original intentions because the show screwed itself over long before it could finally reach any kind of conclusion. I can sum up the major problems of this episode down into two things: the episode mishandles its characters and ideas, and the episode doesn’t know anything about the show it is a part of. I’ve mentioned more than a few times over this ramble about how poorly Celestia and Luna have been handled in the show, and that as a result impacts whatever the show wants to say about them especially in this episode. The two want to retire. Why? Because they no longer feel needed and believe that the Mane 6 are or will be more than ready to take their places. No longer needed? What were the sisters ever needed for? Even if they were awful at keeping Equestria safe, I don’t know what else they have done for the country. So, what would Equestria miss if Celestia and Luna were ever gone for whatever reason? And as with “Magical Mystery Cure” suddenly making Twilight an alicorn princess because she learned yet again that friendship is magic, the Mane 6 are chosen to be rulers of Equestria because they have been able to handle supervillains. Hey, a well-trained and specialized crimefighting team could accomplish something similar, assuming the characters in the team are the main characters, but do you see the Justice League or Avengers being political leaders? That may happen in some “What if?” stories, but I digress. Being a leader comes with more than fending off threats. Now, I’m not asking for MLP to show the intricacies of politics, but the episode doesn’t give much of a reason for the Mane 6’s qualifications, and this attempt at a change in status quo instead feels random. I feel a need to give a special reiteration to the episode attempting to address the sisters’ inactivity as being tests for the Mane 6 to prove themselves. I’ve had this thought go through my head so many times, and I still can’t understand how the writers expect this excuse to work. It’s one thing if Celestia and Luna were to stand back and observe the Mane 6, but the result looks pretty different when taking the context into account. Before this episode, other two-parters would just come up with an excuse for Celestia and Luna being unable to help. Discord is on the loose? Turns out Celestia and Luna are powerless against him. Chrysalis makes a sudden attack at a wedding? Too bad Celestia isn’t quite strong enough to deal with her. Tirek emerges? Let’s have Celestia make everything worse with Luna making no contribution just to see how Twilight would react. There’s a book that talks about the fate of the Pillars? Too bad Celestia can’t read an old language. And let’s not forget the alternate timelines with Celestia and Luna being powerless against the villains. So, all we have ever been given are the sisters (especially Celestia) for one reason or another being unable to do anything about something that can threaten Equestria. And like I asked before, if the sisters were finding more suitable candidates to rule Equestria, how were they even approved in the first place? Did they think they were capable of handling such a position? Were they aware of how unhelpful and unqualified they have been? The writers’ answers to those questions are obvious, but it’s too bad those answers won’t line up with whatever they have given throughout the show. And one more question: HOW DID THE WIMPY CELESTIA AND LUNA EVER BEAT SOMBRA, AGAIN? Whether the writers know it or not, this poor handling to Celestia and Luna also affects the main characters, mainly Twilight as she’s an alicorn princess and pretty much THE main character of the show. In fact, the episode places special emphasis on Twilight being the ruler even though she’d be ruling with her friends. In this episode, Twilight has to prove that she is capable of being a “great” leader. It’s another episode in which Twilight has to prove herself as a royal. The last time something like this happened was in “Twilight’s Kingdom” where she had to prove that she had something to offer as an alicorn princess and that she might even be just as good as the other alicorns. Um, prove what? She’s already better than the other alicorns, especially Princess Celestia. Hell, Twilight has been better than Princess Celestia since THE BEGINNING. What has Celestia been able to do that Twilight couldn’t? Fix a play? Not bad by itself. Being the only notable achievement in the entire show? Fuck you. There’s “Lesson Zero” where Celestia quickly cleared Ponyville of Twilight’s magic, but that leads to other questions that I have brought up numerous times. I can accept that Celestia can’t do everything, and that Twilight can be better than Celestia in some ways, but that’s not what happened in the show. In a way, these creative choices end up being more insulting to Twilight instead of helping her. Why would the show want to compare her to such worthless and incompetent characters? This episode and “Twilight’s Kingdom” wanted to confirm that she can be just as capable as the other alicorns, so why push her down to that level? If anything, the other alicorns needed to be raised up to Twilight’s level. For better or worse, Twilight is my least favorite character in the show, and this episode is a good example of why that is. Twilight is likeable on a surface level, and I also like how much genuine passion she has in learning and teaching for the benefit of herself as well as others. But the royal and more magical side of Twilight? No. I don’t mind the show doing more with the part of Twilight that deals with friendship and learning, but there needs to be a complete do-over with Twilight as a spellcaster and as an alicorn princess. I would prefer if Twilight wasn’t an alicorn princess unless the show can give a good reason as well as expand on alicorns, but I digress. I guess I can give some comments on the rest of Twilight’s friends. They didn’t do too much on the whole, but at least they did well in trying to support Twilight when she was feeling down and help around when they were needed. I suppose I can count this episode as another in which the Mane 6 actually used the concept of friendship to beat the villain. This time, even though they only stood around when blasting Sombra, they did march together with a sense of unity and support for each other right before that moment. An episode like “The Return of Harmony” or “Twilight’s Kingdom” simply had them being together with nothing else other than the fact that they’re together. There’s more to friendship than just being physical present. The only other episodes I would count friendship being used or contributing to beating a villain are “Friendship is Magic” and “Shadow Play”. So, that 3 out of 13 episodes. In terms of teamwork, they each contributed to a certain task as well as the task of dealing with Sombra and his influence, so that’s 5 out of 13. Yeah, those numbers are hardly impressive. I guess I can count the big movie for using both friendship and teamwork, though that doesn’t make me think it’s good, but I digress again. It’s no surprise that I would even hate the season 9 premiere, that makes me wonder how well I’ll think of the last 3 episodes of the show. It also sucks that I would never have been satisfied with how the show ended outside of its first season. I’m not saying that it’s the best season as I’m terrible at deciding what is the “best”, but it is my favorite as it drew me into the show with its ideas and possibilities. Season 2 would be my second favorite as I was pretty invested in the show at that point, but my interest only dropped over time, especially at the end of season 4. Of course, it’s a shame that the show never took off, but what can you do? Looks like I’ll be covering “Sparkle’s Seven” next as I’m curious as to how the creators handle another milestone episode.